Once upon a time, a Father was the major image-maker looked up to by his sons. Even an Uncle was an image of wisdom, safety and refuge for younger men and boys to which they could confide in. Throughout the last century, we have seen a lack of time, money, and most importantly, a lack of hope block this spiritual self that has guided the consciousness, collective and individually of striving young men.
No matter where you are in your life, the archetype ‘priest’ is the part of you that never sacrifices principle under any circumstances. Many of you may be irreligious, yet it’s undeniable that when things get tough, you reach out and seek something higher than yourself to make things better.
I once had a friend who dogged religion and faith to the core. He would comment that a person who was spiritual equated them to being a simpleton. When his daughter fell ill, and was on her deathbed, he prayed. And prayed, and prayed. To something he didn’t believe in his entire life. Why? Because when things get dark in life, we need a light. A ray of hope to which man alone cannot give.
The Priest-head is an archetype that is at the core of every man’s DNA. We can’t deny it, because when we go through life’s hells, we tend to draw on a supernatural strength to become something larger than we are and things work out.
This is spiritual determination. I am not talking about religion here, but rather where you ‘stand’ in relation to your people, your community, and your country. Spiritual determination depends on lineage, legacy, geography, and the culture and traditions of a people defined within a country or nation. Spirit is how you maintain the integrity of the principles you keep.
Below are some of the many movies that MSP feels typifies the Priest-Head in various situations, and eloquently written by our guest writer, Mikey J.
Professor Charles Xavier
Professor Charles Xavier is the instigator and shinning light for the many mutants attending the Xavier institute. This institute creates a home and place of learning and respect for these children discarded by society for being different. Charles demonstrates a passionate willingness to unite all humanity peacefully and eradicate the hatred and fear amassing amongst the general population against mutants, a hatred that exists for no other reason than that they are different. A powerful mutant himself, Charles teaches his students the importance of responsibility and power and not to misuse what they have. He achieves this by example through wisdom, accountability and peace. The lessons learnt touch the fabric of bigotry and prejudice in society on a much bigger scale than simply your garden-variety mutant. Bravo Charles I say!
(Lord of the Rings)
Gandalf (the Grey, then the fresher, cleaner White wizard) is the quintessential priest-head archetype that reeks of wisdom, magic and leadership. Gandalf understands the big picture and his place in the world. He knows his purpose, and opens himself up to a power much greater than him. He easily identifies the shortcomings of men, yet rather than abandon them to their own demise, he raises them up from their mediocrity to withstand the overwhelming power of evil. Gandalf’s true power isn’t the magic he conjures from his staff, but rather his ability to rally the hero within people, even if they don’t realize it exists within themselves. Yet, on top of all this he leads by example with courage, self-sacrifice and unwavering determination. He’s exactly the kind of wizard every guy would like to be!
Mr. Miyagi is a kind and reserved handyman, the type of handyman you want in your corner when the school hooligans start using your face as a punching bag. After saving Daniel LaRusso from a terrible beating, Mr. Miyagi first attempts to resolve the issue by peaceful negotiation with the perpetrators on their turf. Having failed this, Mr. Miyagi reluctantly trains Daniel to fight in a tournament and in the process becomes Daniel’s surrogate father. Daniel learns many vital lessons in life and recognizes Karate is as much about the spirit as it is about technique. Through Mr. Miyagi’s wisdom, Daniel is able to find peace and strength in all areas of his life, gain the respect of his opponents and discover the best friend he’d ever had. Winning a tournament or some meaningless trophy was not Mr. Miyagi’s primary intention, but rather teaching Daniel not to give in to fear and winning the respect of others in all facets of life. For a man of small stature, Mr. Miyagi packs a big of punch in the lessons of self-respect and integrity! (If all else failed, at least he ended up with freshly painted fences, clean cars and smoothly sanded paths…now that’s wise.)
From the moment Obi-Wan Kenobi saved Luke Skywalker from the angry mob of Tusken Raiders, Luke’s true destiny was about to unfold and take him across the universe. Obi-Wan’s journey is an interesting one. It is one of justice, redemption and sacrifice. Following Obi-Wan’s failure with Anakin, (aka Darth Vader) which allowed the dark side to take a stranglehold of the universe, Obi-Wan devotes his life to protect the one hope of returning balance to the force; Anakin’s son, Luke. He teaches Luke the ways of the force and ultimately sacrifices his own life to ensure Luke’s quest continues. Obi-Wan’s ghostly companionship with Luke enables his continued guidance, whenever Luke needed it the most. Handy when trying to blow up a death star, need directions to find a Jedi master or discover you have a twin sister. P.S. if that wasn’t enough, confirmation your dad is hated by all and has Universe domination issues. Anyone who hands out light sabers and teaches the ways of the force has got my vote.
(Dead Poets Society)
John Keating, the profound but unorthodox new English teacher at the prestigious Welton Academy prep school, inspired a generation with his philosophical and passionate teaching methods. Whether it be surveying photos of past students, standing on desks, reciting poetry or exploring the dangers of conformity, John Keating challenged his students to listen to their inner calling. In a world that applied immense pressure for students to study, fulfill their parents expectations and obey the schools strict four pillars; Tradition, Discipline, Honor and Excellence, Mr. Keating offered them inspiration, perspective and humanity to discover and follow their own path.
Mr. Keating ignited his students to strive to achieve their full potential, whilst embrace the essence of humanity; Love, Beauty, Romance and Poetry. The very things we stay alive for! Carpe diem readers, go suck the marrow out of life!
(To Sir with Love)
Mr. Thackery, unlike Mr. Keaton is not an intentional teacher. He only finds himself doing so to make ends meet, due to his unsuccessful application for numerous engineering jobs. His first teaching appointment is unfortunately a baptism of fire. The students in this tough London school live up to their unruly reputation as they taunt Mr. Thackery and challenge his authority.
Mr. Thackery all but gives up hope of making any impact on his students, and is eventually pushed too far. This becomes the catalyst for him to change his tactics and enforce new rules. He finally wins them over by treating them with respect and as adults about to venture out into a world where their antics won’t be tolerated. In a school where its students are trapped in a viscous cycle of inevitable hopelessness, Mr. Thackery discovers a way to ignite within them the hope of a brighter future and a new found sense of self respect. The impact of this revelation was no isolated to his students, as Mr. Thackery tears up a promising job offer that would allow his exit from teaching. He found his calling. He must have watched Dead Poets Society!
(The Green Mile)
Externally, John Coffey is a frightening and ominous character. His freakish size and his horrendous crime of the murder and rape of two young girls make him a man to be feared, despised and condemned. Appearances are obviously deceiving. John is sent to the cell block known as ‘the green mile,’ in preparation for his eventual execution. Here, the guards discover John’s true character, his innocence and his special gift of healing. Not only does John hold no malice toward his executioners, but he kindly and willingly restores their health and faith. Unlike other priest-head archetypes, John Coffey does not display complex wisdom or words of profound meaning. He represents the simple understanding of discerning good from evil. Out of this equation, justice ensues, whether it be in the form of a mouse’s resurrection (Mr. Jingles), or the transfer of the wardens wife’s illness to Percy, who then shoots the real murderer of the children. John Coffey is the gentle giant who senses the plight of the world and tries to set it free.